Reagan shooter wants more time outside hospital
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 01, 2011, 12:45
Washington: The man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan is asking to spend more time outside a Washington mental hospital, but a government lawyer says John Hinckley's request is premature and that he recently lied to cover up the fact he looked at books on Reagan and presidential assassinations.

A jury found Hinckley was insane when he shot and wounded Reagan outside a Washington hotel in 1981, but doctors say his mental illness has been in remission for years.

Yesterday, a federal judge began hearing arguments that Hinckley should be allowed to visit his mother's Virginia home for stretches of approximately three weeks and eventually transition to living outside the mental hospital full-time.

"This man is not dangerous. The evidence shows he is not dangerous," Hinckley's lawyer, Barry Levine, said at yesterday's hearing in Washington.

Government lawyers, however, oppose the plan for visits of 17 and 24 days, saying Hinckley continues to be deceptive and that he "is a man capable of great violence."

A judge has granted Hinckley, 56, increasing freedom from a Washington hospital in recent years. Most recently, he has been allowed to visit his mother's home south of Washington for 10-day stretches.

Hinckley said he shot Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster.

But his diagnosis of major depressive disorder has been in remission for approximately two decades, his lawyer said, and a secondary diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder is reduced. He still takes medication, but in low doses.

Reagan eventually recovered from the shooting and went on to serve two terms as president. A secret service agent and police officer who were shot also recovered from their wounds.

Reagan's press secretary, James Brady, was shot in the head and permanently disabled. He has since become an advocate for preventing gun violence. Reagan died in 2004 at the age of 93.


First Published: Thursday, December 01, 2011, 12:45

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